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Do You Need a Wedding Planner or Stylist and What’s the Difference?

Jan 17, 2020

Aubree Lynn Photography

It’s a question I am asked frequently and one which we try to answer clearly on our website and in our brochure, but I thought it might be helpful for those considering either a Wedding Planner or Stylist or both, to outline the key differences between these different services in detail.

The two can go hand in hand, but the line between them is often blurred and it’s not always obvious to couples which service they require, if either, or if they would benefit from the two together!

Claire Graham Photography

Some wedding planners will offer styling input and some stylists will offer some assistance with planning. Although in most cases, they will generally specialise more in one of these areas than the other. On rare occasions, you may manage to find someone that takes an especially design-led approach to helping you bring your wedding day vision to life and offers expertise in both planning and styling in equal measure.

The easiest way to differentiate is to remember that:

Planning = Logistics and Organisation.

Styling = Aesthetics and Decor.

Rebecca Goddard Photography

A lot of the time (not always) you will find that someone who is exceptional at managing, delegating, planning, budgeting, negotiating and generally bringing together the running of a seamlessly executed event, may show excellence in these areas, whilst not necessarily being very creative at all.

Likewise, a wonderfully inspiring, creative, stylist, full of unique ideas and vision and a fabulous knack for making everything beautiful, may want to run for the hills at the thought of planning an entire event from start to finish, bringing various suppliers onboard and coordinating every single aspect of the event from budgets to bar staff.

They are two very different tasks and require a completely varied set of skills and experience, which when combined, can truly create magic.

Amber Dawn Photography

You may feel that you have the planning perfectly under control but need some assistance with bringing your vision to life on the day, sourcing and curating specific props, setting up installations or helping to develop the visual design concept in the lead up – something which a wedding planner wouldn’t necessarily do, but could certainly outsource/recommend someone to take care of for you. It’s worth considering that some floral designers are also wonderful event stylists!

You may feel that the smooth running and coordination of your event, delicious food and fabulous entertainment are the number one priorities and you really couldn’t care less whether the flowers tie in perfectly with the table linen, which style candles and candlesticks you have or that the most minute of design details have been considered and that the cocktail station looks completely different to any your guests have seen before.

Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Rebecca Goddard Photography

If considered and thoughtful visual details are important to you and you are an especially stylish, design-focused couple, then a stylist is what you need. Whether that be a stylist that only styles, or a wedding planner who also prides themselves on having creative bones and offers this as a service alongside, included within or separate to their wedding planning offering.

Sam Jackson Photography

If you are still unsure, this handy checklist may help you to decide if you require a Planner, a Stylist or both, to help you curate the day of your dreams.

Book a Planner/Coordinator if:

  • You are time-poor, possibly full of ideas, but need some help with the general running of your event in the lead up and on the wedding day itself.
  • You feel overwhelmed, don’t know where to begin and require guidance, advice, venue sourcing, supplier recommendations and budget management.
  • You are based abroad or far away and need someone with local knowledge to take the reins and organise certain elements (or indeed everything!) on your behalf.
  • You have booked a venue without an in-house event manager to oversee the logistics, manage suppliers and ensure the smooth running of everything on the wedding day, so you do not have to worry about a thing and can feel like a guest at your own wedding!
  • You wish to avoid the stress and relax and enjoy the buildup to your wedding day, with just one key point of contact for all aspects of the wedding planning.
  • You would like someone else to manage the sometimes endless questions from all other suppliers with regards to venue access, timings, sustenance, power requirements – the list goes on!
  • You have managed the bulk of the planning yourselves, but the wedding day is now fast approaching and you fancy someone onboard to dot the Is, cross the Ts, highlight anything outstanding which may not have been considered already and ensure all remaining tasks are completed to perfection, whilst you enjoy the final weeks prior to your big day.

Anneli Marinovich Photography

Book a Stylist if:

  • You have trillions of creative ideas for your decor scheme but need help refining them and figuring out how to bring them to life and execute them tastefully.
  • You have zero idea of how to decorate your venue and what works together, but know that you would love it to LOOK incredible, have real visual wow-factor and want your photographs to scream ‘stylish’.
  • You haven’t the first clue of where to source the perfect table runner, which elements might benefit from the addition of a floral accent, and what might look best where.
  • The last thing you feel like doing is climbing ladders, crawling under tables, fiddling with layouts and generally running around setting up all the prettiness on the morning of your wedding day.
  • Timings for access to the venue is limited meaning that setting up the decor yourself on the day is not an option. 
  • You have an excellent wedding planner on board already, but don’t necessarily feel that they are experts in designing and curating stylish, impactful visual displays without careful direction, and this is a key priority for you. You would perhaps like someone who specialises in this area (to whom you can give 100% creative trust) to take this on as a role of its own, whilst the planner coordinates everything else, doing what they do best to keep the day flowing smoothly.
  • You want to deliver a show-stopping event like no other and adore carefully curated, beautiful, personal, thoughtful details which will get your guests talking and snapping away for the ‘gram!

Nastja Kovacec Photography

H x

All images are the work of Helaina Storey Wedding Design.

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